Starbucks’ banana trees replaced by Zegna’s alpine forest

Palms and bananas in MIlan

Palms and bananas in MIlan Photo: Flickr CC / Arcansel

It’s arrivederci to Starbuck’s much hated palms and banana trees in Milan’s Piazza Duomo. Operations to dismantle the tropical flowerbed designed by Starbucks in front of the cathedral began in the morning of Wednesday February 21.

Palms and banana trees have been decorating the flowerbed in front of the cathedral since 2017: the tender for the arrangement of the small garden in the city centre was won at the time by Starbucks. A choice that aroused much controversy at the time and divided the city, between supporters of the initiative for its originality and detractors for its lack of adherence to the city’s history.

Renewed in 2019, the contract expired in 2023. The new tender was won by the luxury group Zegna, which proposed a radical change: instead of palms and banana trees, plants typical of the Piedmontese Alps.

Zegna’s project will bring to the centre of Milan more characteristic elements of the vegetation of the Oasi Zegna, an area of about 100 square kilometres in the Biellese Alps owned by Ermenegildo Zegna since the 1930s and planted with over half a million conifers.

The new flowerbeds will feature a permanent basic structure consisting of four evergreen, leafy groves of bushy camphor trees of different ages. These will include, in rotation, rhododendrons from autumn to late spring, followed by philadelphus plants, which guarantee the creation of a favourable habitat for the presence of butterflies and pollinating insects in the centre of the city.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.